Geebung, near Braidwood

This is barefoot country

even now, in early winter

when the cool mountain air dampens

the risk of a startled snake rising

in your path.


This is sitting-still country –

where the bracken unfurls its fronds

and where the layered view of the purple hills

makes you contemplate your place

in the natural order of things.


This is cracking bark country

where a distant haze of smoke drives

a shudder through the core of the old-growth trees –

that yearn and lean toward

the merest hint of flame.


This is vast night country,

a curving roof of blackness shot through with stars –

points of light reaching across time –

and you wonder at the significance

of a self-aggrandising world.


This is stony swamp country –

as springy as the moss on the southside of the trees –

as pitted and tender as the bruise you find

on the sole of your foot three days

after you return home.

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